Charity and Social Welfare

The Dynamics of Religious Reform in Northern Europe, 1780-1920

Edited by Leen Van Molle

Regular price €69.50 (including 6% VAT) Sale

Edited volume - hardback

VIEW Edited volume - ebook - PDF
How churches in Northern Europe reinvented their role as providers of social relief. Charity is a word that fits well in the history of religion and churches, whereas the concept of social reform seems to belong more to the vocabulary of the modern welfare states. Christian charity found itself, during the long nineteenth century, within the maelstrom of social turmoil. In this context of social unrest, although charity managed to confirm its relevance, it was also subjected to fierce criticism, as well as to substitute state-run forms of social care and insurance. The history of the welfare states remained all too blind to religion. This fourth volume in the series ‘Dynamics of Religious Reform’ unravels how the churches in Britain and Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium shaped and adjusted their understanding of poverty. It reveals how they struggled with the ‘social question’ and often also with the modern nation states to which they belonged. Either in the periphery of public assistance or in a dynamic interplay with the state, political parties and society at large, the churches reinvented their tradition as providers of social relief.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Contributors: Andreas Holzem (Universität Tübingen), Dáire Keogh (St Patrick’s College, Dublin City University), Frances Knight (The University of Nottingham), Nina Koefoed (Aarhus Universitet), Katharina Kunter (Germany), Bernhard Schneider (Universität Trier), Aud V. Tønnessen (Universitetet Oslo), Annelies van Heijst (Tilburg University), H.D. van Leeuwen and M.H.D. van Leeuwen (Universiteit Utrecht), Leen Van Molle (KU Leuven).
Comparing Religious Perspectives on Social Reform
An Introduction
Leen Van Molle


The United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland

Social Welfare and the Churches in England, Scotland and Wales
Frances Knight

Social Welfare in Irish Perspective
Dáire Keogh


The Low Countries

Social Questions and Catholic Answers
Social Reform in Belgium, c. 1780-1920
Leen Van Molle

Church, State, and Citizen
Charity in the Netherlands from the Dutch Republic to the Welfare State
H.D. van Leeuwen and Marco H.D. van Leeuwen

Reforming Apart Together
Dutch Health Care in the Maelstrom of Religious and Professional Rivalry
Annelies van Heijst


Poor and Sick Relief in Catholic Germany from the Enlightenment until the Revolution in 1848
Bernhard Schneider

Social Welfare in Catholic Germany, 1850-1920
Andreas Holzem

Diakonie (Welfare and Social Work) and Protestantism in Germany, c. 1780-1920
Katharina Kunter


The Nordic Countries

Social Responsibilities in the Protestant North
Denmark and Sweden
Nina Javette Koefoed

Christian Social Work in an Age of Crisis and Reform
The Case of Norway
Aud V. Tà¸nnessen





Format: Edited volume - hardback

Size: 238 × 170 mm

312 pages

ISBN: 9789462700925

Publication: February 13, 2017

Series: Dynamics of Religious Reform 4

Languages: English

Stock item number: 115109

Leen Van Molle is full professor of social history and member of the research group MoSa (Modernity and Society, 1800-2000) at KU Leuven. Her research focuses on the history of Belgian and European social identities, social movements and social policy, and in particular the history of the rural world.
In alle bijdragen van 'Charity and Social Welfare' wordt duidelijk dat kerkgenootschappen doorheen de lange negentiende eeuw hun caritaswerking moesten herdenken, maar er wel in slaagden om elk op eigen wijze een rol te blijven spelen in het voorzien van sociale bijstand. Omdat in ieder hoofdstuk het belang van context en de eigenheid van de kerkgenootschappen benadrukt wordt, vertelt het boek meer dan een ‘path-dependent’ geschiedenis.
Thomas D’haeninck, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis, Volume 131, Number 2, June 2018

  Tijdschrift voor geschiedenis
Cet ouvrage collectif est donc particulièrement le bienvenu pour les chercheurs en histoire religieuse et en histoire de la protection sociale. Il apporte ainsi un éclairage neuf sur des aires méconnues de l’historiographie européenne. Même si l’angle transnational n’est peut-être pas suffisamment étoffé sous l’angle des échanges d’expériences et des circulations d’idées et de pratiques, ce livre constitue désormais une référence et il invite à une approche semblable pour l’Europe du Sud, tout autant pluriconfessionnelle avec les Églises d’Orient et les communautés juives et musulmanes. Histoire sociale et histoire religieuse n’ont plus à s’ignorer, mais bien à dialoguer entre elles. Ce livre en est le fruit.
The more welcome is this comprehensive volume, telling in some detail the stories of how the churches in the Northern half of Europe dealt with the social issues that arose along with industrialization, urbanization and the creation of the modern nation states during primarily the 19th century. [...] The book fills a gap in the writing of the social history of Europe
Ninna Edgardh, SZRKG, 111 (2017)